Australian Aborigines have inhabited the Swan River region for thousands of years. In 1697 the Dutch navigator, Willem de Vlamingh, named the Swan River after the unique black swans he saw on its banks.
It was not until 1829 that Captain Charles Howe Fremantle took possession of the area on behalf of the British Crown, when he landed at the mouth of the Swan River. Later that year, Captain James Stirling, a sea-captain officially founded Perth and established the Swan River Colony.
This Colony, unlike the Eastern States, was populated by free settlers. The hardships and labour shortages they experienced led to the arrival of convicts in 1850. As a result, Perth's industry, transportation and communication networks grew rapidly. Prominent city landmarks built with convict labour include Government House, Perth Town Hall, Trinity Church and the Old Courthouse.
Perth, named after the Scottish city of the same name, was proclaimed a City by Queen Victoria in 1856. The first Perth City Council met in 1858, and by January 1871 the City of Perth was incorporated and several other municipal councils and road boards were established.
In the mid 1890's the discovery of gold in Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie to the east transformed the City as it's population soared. Many of the buildings constructed during this economic boom portray the wealth and opulence of the period. The valuable commodities of iron ore and nickel created another boom for Perth in the 1960's. It was at this time that the city's skyline began to change, with office towers being constructed.